Chilli Prawns on Crispy Wonton Skins


My aunt and cousin Dungie  are visiting us today and I wanted to make something special for them. The menu was originally going to be asparagus speared prawns on creamed parsnip, but the parsnips at the markets weren’t very fresh today so I opted for a different dish instead. Glad the parsnips were’t fresh, cos this dish really hit the spot on a Saturday afternoon! Thanks for visiting ladies, as always we love having you around!!!

Estimated Cooking Time – 30 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients;

  • 12 wonton skins
  • 1/2 cup of melted butter and oil combined in equal portions
  • 12 prawns, de-shelled and veined
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped coriander
  • 1/4 cup of finely choped ginger
  • 1/4 finely diced onions
  • 2 Tbps of sugar
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 2 Tbsp of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of freh soya beans (you can buy them frozen and then steam/ boil them)
  • 1/2 sweet potato chopped
  • 1 chopped potato

Method;

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.
  2. Drizzle the oil into a pot and sweat the onions till they are translucent. Add the ginger, garlic and coriander and sautee for another 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste, sugar, salt and canned tomato and bring to boil. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes and place on the low heat to keep warm.
  3. While the sauce s cooking, cook and mash the potatoes.
  4. With a pastry brush, brush the butter and oil over both sides of the wonton skins and place on a roasting rack. Repeat this process till you have glazed allof the wonton skins and placein the oven for 3 miutes, or till you can see the skins puff up like a con chip.
  5. While the wonton skins are cooking, sautee your prawns in a hot pan and season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  6. To serve, put the crispy skin wonton onto a plate, top with the mash potatoes, soya beans, the prawns and a spoonful of the delicious sauce.

 



Brie and Tomato Bruschetta


One of the sheer joys of being a mum is the pinnacle point between hysterical laughter and sheer horror when you discover piles and piles of silky black hair on the floor when they should be on your daughters head. Bella was playing quietly in her room this morning. Bathed in my naivety, I even commented on how good she was, unaware that my creative daughter was busy building a hair salon for herself and her many dolls. Good thing we had a relaxing lunch before we discovered one of Bella’s victim…. ahhh who said being a parent wasn’t fun!

Estimated Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients;

  • 2 large thick slices of sour dough bread or Ciabatta
  • 1/4 wedge of brie, sliced into bite size pieces
  • 2 Tbsp of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 100g of semi dried tomato
  • 200g or rocket/arugula
  • Handful of torn up basil leaves for garnish
  • 1 tsp of Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp of honey
  • 3 tsp of extra virgin olive oil

Method;

  1. In a bowl, combine the vinegar, oil and honey. Whisk well and set  the dressing aside.
  2. Divide the brie, semi sun dried tomatoes and Parmesan cheese in half and top these ingredients onto your sliced bread.
  3. Pop this under the grill for 5 minutes, or till cheese forms a golden crust.
  4. Sprinkle the basil leaves on top.
  5. Serve the Bruschetta on a bed or rocket/arugula and drizzle the marinade on top.


Grilled Peppers with Lemongrass Turkey


I spent the whole day relaxing with my mum, having a good chat about anything and everything! I learnt so much about her childhood, her heritage and the battles she faced during Vietnam’s civil war. I was so immersed in mum’s story that I completely forgot about dinner, so we had a simple light supper tonight.

Estimated Cooking Time – 20 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients; 

  • 4 bell peppers
  • 1/2 kg of turkey
  • 2 Tbps of lemongrass
  • 2 Tbsp of scallions/spring onions
  • 2 Tbsp of Kecap Manis
  • 1 Tbps of Salt
  • Sprinkle of cornflour
  • Olive oil for the pan fry
  • Sliced chilli for garnish (optional)

 Method;

  1. In a bowl, combine the turkey mince, Kecap Manis, salt, pepper, lemongrass and scallions and mix thoroughly.
  2. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and soft membranes inside.
  3. Stuff the peppers with the mince and sprinkle rice flour on top. The rice flour helps seals the mince and forms a crust when you pan fry the peppers.
  4. Bring a pan up to medium heat, drizzle with olive oil and place the peppers stuffing side down.
  5. Pan fry the peppers for 5-10 minutes on each side (depending on the size of each pepper). The peppers are done when the skin forms a blister and the stuffing inside is no longer soft and plyable.
  6. Serve these little yummy parcels with either fluffy rice or garlic mash.

 



Vietnamese Crepes – Banh Xeo


I’m at home with mum today, it’s freezing cold in the middle of summer, I’m feeling ravenous and mum insisted we make some savoury crepes. So here’s to mum’s orders!

Estimated Cooking Time - 60 minutes (includes 1/2 hour marinade time)

Serves 4

Ingredients; 

Crepe Batter

  • 2 cups of rice flour
  • 1 cup of corn flour
  • 1 Tbsp of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of tumeric
  • 300 ml of milk
  • 1/2 cup of scallions/spring onions
  • Oil for Pan fry
  • Crushed chilli and finely diced garlic (optional)

Fish Sauce Dressing – If you didn’t want to make the fish sauce, you could always serve the crepes with sweet chilli sauce as the faster alternative.

  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 1 cup of fish sauce
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of water

The Filling – The filling is really up to you, just add what you like to the crepes, as long as they are savoury ingredients. Here’s what I used.

  • 1 cup pre-cooked Mung beans or beans of your choice
  • 1 cup of cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 cup of bean sprouts or shredded carrots or khol rabi or any crunchy veggies of your choice (except capsicum as they will be runny when cooked and destroy the crispiness of the crepe)
  • Handfuls of fresh herbs such as mint, coriander, basil  to serve with the pancakes

Method;

  1. In bowl, sift the corn flour, rice flour, sugar, salt and tumeric and mix well. Add the milk and scallions and whisk for 5 minutes or till the crepe mixture is smooth and velvety. You should have a rich yellow batter. Leave the batter to marinade and expand for 1/2 hour. This is important if you want to achieve a crispy crepe.

Fish Sauce Dressing

  1. In a pot, add the fish sauce, sugar, vinegar and water and whisk. Bring up to medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes and leave to cool. Ensure all your windows are open as it can be pretty pungent… all worth it though. Add crushed chilli and diced garlic if you wish, but these ingredients are only optional.

The Pancake

  1. In a hot pan, drizzle some oil and bring to medium heat. Scoop one large ladle of the crepe batter into the pan and spread the batter evenly around the pan to form a round crepe. Add the filling onto one side of the pan and cook for 2 minutes or till the crepe can be flipped .
  2. Flip the unfilled side of the crepe over onto itself to form a crescent like shape and pan fry for another 3-5 minutes till the crepes are cooked. The cakes are ready when the batter is nice and crispy on the outside yet tender on the inside.
  3. Repeat this step until you have run out of the batter. Depending on the size of the pan, you could get about 5-6 pancakes of out this mixture.
  4. Serve pipping hot with the fish sauce dressing and with your favourite herbs.

If you were having a party and wanted to impress your guest with this, you could prepare everything in advance and pan fry the crepes at the table if you have one of those portable stoves.



Pear Studded Cheese Platter



It’s funny how ideas can come from the strangest place. I was preparing a cheese platter to enjoy with a couple of friends and was trying to think of a way to jazz it up abit. I was preparing the fruits and nuts when I remembered a documentary on cable about piercings. It stood out in my mind because they had a feature on people who have a passion for wearing studs throughout their body. That was when I decided the pear on my platter was going to suffer the same fate. 

Estimated Cooking Time – 20 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients;

  • Cheese, fresh/dried fruit and nuts of your choice for the cheese platter
  • Roasted pistachio
  • 1 pear
  • 1 tsp of Olive oil and 1 tsp of honey mixed together (to brush the pear)

Method;

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.
  2. Lightly brush the pear with olive oil and honey marinade and pop into the oven for 15 – 20 minutes depending the size of your pear. The pear is ready when the skin turns from a green to a brown colour and the flesh is soft. Allow the pear to cool.
  3. Once cooled, press the pistachio nuts into the pear.
  4. Serve with cheese, fruits and nuts of your choice. Brie, blue and Babybel goes really well with the pear.